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Catching Tales

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Editors’ Notes

After becoming a UK superstar with his 2004 release Twentysomething, a piano-driven meld of jazz and pop with a singer/songwriter’s instincts, Jamie Cullum faced the usual challenge of following up a huge hit while pushing his music forward. As did Norah Jones — an obvious, but perhaps inevitable, comparison — he succeeds. Catching Tales is a comfortably hip leap forward, as Cullum again visits a few chestnuts (“Our Day Will Come,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “I’m Glad There is You”) and introduces himself to the likes of arty Ed Harcourt as a co-writer (“Back to the Ground”). The result will no doubt be widely heard in fashionable restaurants on at least two continents, but more to the point, Cullum works his charm on the solitary listener too. As Twentysomething did in the UK, this album is likely to make him a star in the U.S.

Customer Reviews

Great pop/jazz album!

Admittedly, I am not a deeply educated jazz fan, so I don't usually lean toward the more complex, meandering pieces that would truly qualify the genre. That disclosed, Jamie Cullum's previous two efforts never really connected with me. Catching Tales has shown me what Twentysomething and Pointless Nostalgic were lacking. Beautifully strange and soaring harmonies; thick, rich bass to support the melody; the occasional horn section; and down-to-earth lyrics make this the perfect mix of contemporary pop and jazz. If you are new to Cullum, start with this album and work backwards.

Why the hype, you ask?

Passion. This man obviously loves what he does, and it's evident when you see him perform. Such raw, simple passion for music is lost on popular music these days. On top of that, it's a wonderfully crafted, feel-good record that will make you giddy. He writes for everyone, and his covers are delightful, too. Be sure to also check out Twentysomething if you enjoy this CD.

More pop, less jazz?

This is still a good album and Jamie is still a good artist, but "Catching Tales" just isn't jazzy enough for me. I fell in love with "Twentysomething" because it was so soothing and light, and who else would scat along with a sax solo? Catching Tales, however, seems to slide more towards the poppy side of music and away from the jazz. You'll catch a swinging piano solo every now and then, and start to hope that this is Twentysomething, but it doesn't last more than minute. There are still some very good tracks on here - most notably 21st Century Kid and Nothing I Do - but for the most part I find the album a little too heavy to be taken seriously and, at times, unlistenable.


Born: August 20, 1979 in Rochford, Essex, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

British pianist/vocalist Jamie Cullum mixes jazz with melodic pop and rock into a crossover style that calls to mind such artists as Harry Connick, Jr. and Norah Jones. In that vein, Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song, and his original compositions deftly move from earnest ballads to songs of sardonic wit. Having played guitar and piano since age eight, Cullum developed an avid interest in jazz passed down from his older brother Ben. Inspired by such piano...
Full Bio